June 16, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

U.S. Supreme Court on Police Examining Guest Registries at Hotels

The U.S. Supreme court today struck down a Los Angeles ordinance that allowed the police to examine guest registries at hotels and motels anytime during the day or night.

The 5-4 decision upheld a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that had set aside the ordinance on grounds that it permitted unreasonable searches.

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s office had maintained that some hotels and motels have become havens of prostitution, sex trafficking and drug dealing and that police need the authority to conduct spot checks, the Los Angeles Times reported this morning.

A group of motel owners went to court, alleging the spot checks late at night were intrusive and disruptive for families running the motels. The group won a broad ruling from the 9th Circuit Court that held the ordinance unconstitutional.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said motel owners deserve the right to go to a judge and to object before a search takes place, The Times reported. Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Elena Kagan also cited with the plaintiffs. They said police may obtain a search warrant if they suspect criminal activity at a motel or hotel.

Justice Antonin Scalia said police should have not have to “jump through procedural hoops” to get a warrant, The Times reported. He said “the costs of this always-get-a-warrant alternative would be prohibitive for a police force in one of America’s largest cities, juggling numerous law- enforcement priorities and confronting more than 2,000 motels within its jurisdiction.”

in Crime, News
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